Penelope Aubin

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Penelope Aubin (c. 1679 – 1738?)[1] was an English novelist, poet, and translator. She published seven novels between 1721-28. Aubin published poetry in 1707 and turned to novels in 1721; she translated French works in the 1720s, spoke publicly on moral issues in 1729, and wrote a play in 1730. Aubin died in April 1738, survived by her husband until his death in April 1740. After the author's death, her works were gathered and published as A Collection of Entertaining Histories and Novels, Designed to Promote the Cause of Virtue and Honor. After the 18th century, Aubin's works fell out of favor with readers because of her writing style and unbelievable plots.

Early Life[edit]

Penelope Aubin's exact origins remain unknown; she was most likely born in London around 1679[2]. While scholars have theorized that she was both Catholic and Huguenot, her biographer, Joel H. Baer, judges asserts that her "family were impoverished Huguenots."[2] She was the daughter of Sir Richard Temple and Anne Charleton. Her mother Anne was the daughter of the physician and natural philosopher Walter Charleton. Aubin married her husband, Abraham Aubin, in 1696, and they had three children: Marie, Abraham, and Penelope. Aubin managed the family business while her husband, a merchant, traveled. She was involved with a scheme by former pirate John Breholt to repatriate the pirates of Madagascar (and their wealth) to England; her 1709 testimony regarding Breholt's character helped discredit Breholt's plans.[3] Aubin was considered a moralistic writer whose writing was unadorned.


Title page for The Strange Adventures of the Count de Vinevil
  • The Stuarts : A Pindarique Ode (1707)
  • The Extasy: A Pindarick Ode to Her Majesty The Queen (1708)
  • The Wellcome : A Poem to his Grace the Duke of Marlborough (1708)
  • The Strange Adventures of the Count de Vinevil and His Family (1721)
  • The Life of Madam de Beaumount, a French Lady (1721)
  • The Life and Amorous Adventures of Lucinda (1721)
  • The Doctrine of Morality (1721). Translation by T.M. Gibbs of M. De Gomberville. Republished in 1726 as Moral Virtue Delineated.
  • The Noble Slaves: Or the Lives and Adventures of Two Lords and Two Ladies (1722)
  • The Adventures of the Prince of Clermont, and Madam De Ravezan (1722). Translation of Mme Gillot De Beaucour.
  • History of Genghizcan the Great (1722). Translation of M. Petis de le Croix.
  • The Life of Charlotta Du Pont, an English lady; taken from her own memoirs (1723). Online edition at
  • The Life and Adventures of the Lady Lucy (1726)
  • The Illustrious French Lovers (1726). Translation of Les Illustres Françaises by Robert Challe
  • The Life and Adventures of The Young Count Albertus, The Son of Count Lewis Augustus, by the Lady Lucy (1728)
  • The Life of the Countess de Gondez (1729). Translation.
  • A Collection of Entertaining Histories and Novels, Designed to Promote the Cause of Virtue and Honor (1739)

Further reading[edit]

  • Eve Tavor Bannet, Transatlantic Stories and the History of Reading, 1720-1810: Migrant Fictions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, Ch. 2.
  • David Brewer and Angus Whitehead, "The Books of Lydia Languish's Circulating Library Revisited," Notes and Queries 57.4 (2010): 551-53.
  • Joel Baer, "Penelope Aubin and the Pirates of Madagascar: Biographical Notes and Documents," Eighteenth-Century Women: Studies in Their Lives, Work, and Culture, vol. 1, ed. Linda V. Troost (New York: AMS Press, 2001).
  • Aparna Gollapudi, 'Virtuous Voyages in Penelope Aubin's Fiction', Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 45:3 (Summer 2005), pp. 669–690
  • Edward Kozaczka, "Penelope Aubin and Narratives of Empire," Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Volume 25, Number 1 (2012), pp. 199–226
  • William H. McBurney, 'Mrs Penelope Aubin and the Early-Eighteenth Century English Novel', Huntington Library Quarterly, 20 (1956–7), pp. 245–267
  • Chris Mounsey, ' '...bring her naked from her bed, that I may ravish her before the Dotard's face, and then send his Soul to Hell': Penelope Aubin, Impious Pietist, Humourist or Purveyor of Juvenile Fantasy?', British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 26 (2003), pp. 55–75
  • C.M.Owen, 'The Virginal Individual', The Female Crusoe: hybridity, trade and the eighteenth-century female individual, Amsterdam: Rodopi Books, 2010: 139-164.
  • Sarah Prescott, 'Penelope Aubin and the Doctrine of Morality: a reassessment of the pious woman novelist', Women's Writing, Volume 1, No.1 (1994), pp. 99–112
  • Debbie Welham, 'The Particular Case of Penelope Aubin', Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Volume 31, Number 1 (2008), pp. 63–76
  • Debbie Welham, "Delight and Instruction? Women's Political Engagement in the Works of Penelope Aubin," (PhD diss., University of Winchester, 2009).
  • Debbie Welham, "Penelope Aubin, Short Biography." (University of Winchester).


  1. ^ While the Orlando Project lists 1739 as Aubin's date of death, the Oxford English Dictionary site suggests that Aubin died much earlier in 1731. See
  2. ^ a b "Examining the OED: Penelope Aubin (1679?-1731?), novelist and translator". Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  3. ^ Troost, Linda (2001). Eighteenth century women (Vol.1 ed.). Norwalk, CT: AMS Press. ISBN 9780404647018. Retrieved 21 February 2018. 

External links[edit]